Ask Father Josh (Your Catholic Question and Answer Podcast)

Sex in Marriage, Arguing about Contraception, and Recovering from Sexual Sin

February 11th, 2020

What kinds of physical acts are morally acceptable when it comes to sex in marriage? What do you do when one spouse embraces NFP and the other insists on using contraception? How can an engaged couple recover chastity and peace after giving into sexual temptation together? 

*Disclaimer: Parents may want to listen to the podcast before sharing with young kids, as we discuss some very mature topics about intimate relationships.

Snippet from the Show 

"When you bring to the Mass all that you’ve experienced, you allow Jesus to redeem those things that are most dark, bitter, and painful by taking them into the mystery of his sacrifice and casting them into the ocean of his mercy."

Glory Story (3:55) 

Feedback (9:26)

Disagreement on Contraception in Marriage (11:33)

Thank you for your podcast. It’s been a big help to me. My husband and I have been married for 18 years. We are now in our early 40’s. We have three wonderful kids who are 4, 6 and 8. We are both Catholic but experience our faith differently. One thing we have never agreed on is NFP/contraception.

When we first got married I was trained and spent years charting and following my cycle using the symptothermal method. Since that time we have always abstained during my fertile period, but when we have sex my husband will still use a condom to avoid pregnancy. So I’ve basically been doing NFP on my own.

He is a good man, and has his own journey with the Lord. But this has caused me much pain and guilt. We have always attended weekly Mass together, and with the children, and we do night prayers with the kids every night. I also attend daily Mass when I can, and regular reconciliation. My husband and I pray together sometimes but it’s not a daily habit. I pray a lot. I have kept bringing this to the Lord in prayer. And kept up a dialogue with my husband. I bring it to reconciliation.

He doesn’t want any more children, and a big part of that now is because I become very unwell when pregnant and can’t function for a number of months. I am open to having more children if it’s God’s will, even though I’m a bit afraid of being so sick. I would do it though. After so long I have started to feel much fear, and sometimes hopelessness about this situation. At the worst times I worry that I am condemned. I feel powerless to change the situation. And an ultimatum doesn’t really seem like the right thing to do for our marriage. I have realised I basically try to avoid intercourse, but that’s not great for our marriage either.

Do you have any advice that will help me to carry on in this situation, which doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon.

- Sarah

Oral Sex in Marriage (17:04)

Hey Father Josh, 

I looked all over the Ascension Press website for anything on this topic. 

I have read Song of Solomon and there are lots of thought provoking ideas within the scripture. My question is, what are the Catholic teachings on what is appropriate acts of "foreplay" before having intercourse, for a married couple. To be more specific, could you also elaborate on the Catholic teachings of oral sex. I have listened to your potato analogy for same sex relationships, but am wondering the thoughts for a married male and female, as the Song of Solomon hints at some of this.

Thanks in advance!

- Anonymous

Recovering from Sexual Sin (25:14)

Hey Father Josh,

I have a question I’ve been wrestling with for a few weeks now. I recently got engaged,  and we are both Catholic and are active in our church. We both agreed to wait until marriage to have sex, but one evening we went out of town to attend a wedding and it was our first time sharing a hotel room. We had spent the night in the same bed once before about 6 months prior, but that was before i knew it was a sin, and after that we never shared a bed at night. Anyway the evening was fine but then we got carried away and things went too far. I ended up crying the rest of the night and I felt absolutely horrible. The next morning was thankfully Saturday and after the wedding we both talked and wanted to not ever do that again, so we went to confession. 

It’s been a couple of weeks, but I’m so sad about what I did. I feel like I failed and that I don’t know who I am or that I can’t be genuinely relaxed. It’s caused me to question so much about myself and the relationship. If we committed such a grave sin does this mean that we’re not leading each other toward Heaven? That we will lead each other to sin? Should we break off the engagement? Should we just end our relationship? I guess I’m looking for steps to do after everything. My fiance and I have talked, we stay away from the occasion of sin, not spending too much time privately alone, limiting longer kisses and we went to confession but I’m still questioning everything. I don’t know what to do. Any help or advice would be great. Please advise, I feel so lost and confused, thank you. 

- Anonymous


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